I am a PI, you already knew that, i travel around, all over Yumanopolis doin’ investigations and walkin’ into interesting situations as i go. At the moment i work for a group of independently wealthy investors. They send me around Yumanopolis for al kinds of investigations, i investigate people, businessess, etc. They pay the hefty bills i send in with all the expenses covered etc. And i am good, but that must have been abundantly clear. you’ve already had the pleasure of reading some of my reports on the cases i have investigated in the past. This time i was sent to Groterdam, a big, international city in Lowlands. Its a nice city, all vices are covered here, peopel come from all over to indulge in their vices, the Lowlanders don’t mind as long as all the bills are paid. they are famous for this attitude, this trade attitude or this attitude of freedom within certain bounds. It had been so for centuries and still this attitude remains alive. the investors group, its the Excalibur Investment Company, EIC. They are all independently wealthy, mostly from their own talents in all kinds of areas of society, they are all Breet and mainly unknown to common populace, something they love to keep like this. this is the reason why they chose me, with my background in intelligence and being a loner and selfmade man they chose me as their investigative source. I have been workin’ for ten years in their employ and they make sure i can live my way, have interesting things to do while i indulge my own interests, the occultic alleyways of Yumanopolis. If i hadn’t met John Constantine i would have stayed a normal private eye, one case with him had turned me on this side of Yumanopolis society i had never thought about……there we are then.
So i was i Groterdam, doin’ research for mister DeBruce. He needed some information about some artist. I had met the guy once in Berlin, made a deal, i would leave him alone and let him do his business his way. This time i would be tracking or finding one of his notebooks, there was a buzz that one of his notebooks had been dropped in Groterdam and so……..i was on it. Like flies on rice, like the Mericans would say in some cheesy noir investigative skit. i started to frequent bars and locales where the artists, as they called themselves, would go to get their egos inflated by their fellow artists, etc. Drinkin’ here, drinkin’ there, collecting cards from all the nutters and fruits i could, this Artist case, it was an ongoing investigation, would benefit from the connections i made now. I liked this bunch, free spirits, drinkin’, doin’ drugs, bein’ merry, no cares in the world, unless investors or agents would come, faces changed and they would be at their best behaviour, if they still coud, bein’ plastered or floatin’ on a higher plane. It was fun for me, not that i was interested in art, i liked these people, the creativity of dealing with life and getting something out of it that normal folks would not……their art. i had my drinks with painters, collagists, poets, writers, videoartists, etc. A bit of an incestuous affair, all of them infecting eachother with ideas, wants, pleisures, problems, love affairs, enough to fill my head with ideas for the dime novels i wrote for underground publishers. Yeah, a PI can be a writer too. They have blamed our profession of not being very creative but hey, our clientele gives us all their shit and smut and, i, me, i deal with it by writing dime novels, although that kind of writing is of an earlier century, i mean the 20th century.
The Artists notebook. So i traveled from bar to bar, talkin’ here and there, trying to find the buzz about the Artist. I saw his images on walls, T-shirts, his lines written on the walls of bathroom walls and stalls. It was a hoot, seein’ all this stuff plastered all over the walls. I wondered if he, the Artist, knew about this. It had been a while since i had recoverd a notebook, the last one five months ago in Par-Isi. I even found a magazine or E-zine, it was downloaded and printed on cheap newspaper paper, the Artist, a magazine about the guy i was checking up about. I checked the magazine, they were raising this guy to artistic sainthood if i read the stuff right, all kinds of articles about the meaning of the artworks, etc. I stuffed one in my pockets, of my trenchcoat ofcourse, dealing with the Constantine once and your of the same ilk, well the trenchcoat is worn easily then. I talked to people, showed the magazine, he was the buzz in the underground, people were looking for him, stories going round; he was a war veteran from Merica, she was a chinese woman, they were a couple traveling around in Yumanopolis doin’ art on the sly and leaving it all around. All i spoke to were praising him or commenting on how ballsy it was tow ork this , could he be already famous and wealthy and was this a way to blow off some steam with offbeat art, was it a side line to some other work he did, or what !? Questions, questions. There were artists from all over Blue Star, some from India were already translating the collected works in to hindi to publish a dual deluxe set. I would love to see that, it would be nice to send one of these to Debruce, it would fit nicely in his library. All colors and creeds were there in that art scene of Groterdam. This way i spent a week in Groterdam, just talking, finding leads, collecting stuff that was based on the works of the Artist. This had been an amendment to the objective of this mission, the daughter of DeBruce had taken a fancy to the work and was now also collecting bits and pieces. I was fine with it, i collected and shipped every bit and piece i found daily to the DeBruce house.
Then, a week had passed, ten or twenty packages sent home, i met a woman in bar. She was in to the Artist and she said i should come with her to a certain dancing/disco, it was called ‘The Es’. ther must be some Freudian connotation here, let me think, should i get in to it or let it slide. Sex was the key to this coke snorting pundit of psychology…….what else can i say. I said yes to the lady, held of her advances for an afternoon and made a date for that night, we would meet at eight, thats 20:00 hrs in front of ‘the Es’. So we did. She told me to change my shirt, it reeked of whiskey and cigarettes, yes i am a connoisseur of the finer tastes, although i don’t let a good non-Breet beer pass me by ofcourse or some wine, as long as it does not come from a carton and it is red. Hmmm, indulging, in me-ness, nah, who cares, who will read this swill anyway. We met in front of ‘The Es’, loads of people in front of it, many with bags full of clothes, many of the lefty persuasion and a group of tourists and out of towners, all waiting to be let in to that holiest of holies. My date got us through, within a sec, hey, ho, hello and we were in. Black walls, neons lights, some Uschi work. Lots of modern art on the walls, so modern it hurt my eyes once in while, or so pornographic i would not call it art anymore, hey i am kind of a………..nincompoop on the art knowledge front so don’t mind my editorials on these ‘art works’. A lot of he-girls, transvestites, showgirls buzzin’ around, i had really ended up on some other planet, musc comin’ from all sides, different kinds of music, pumpin’ bass sounds from a basement hole, rock ‘n roll from the left, something indescribable from the right, rap music from above. I moved to a wall, put my hand against it, took a deep breath, took a cig from my packet and lit it, tried to light it. My date lookin’ at me strangely, ‘Are you okay, it might be to damp to…..’, i got my ciggy lit, after three or four tries, she held out her hand and i grabbed it, smiled at her. ‘Not used to this kind of ruckus and athmosphere’, i said, i felt very old in that second, she smiled, kissed me on the cheek and dragged me behind her, to go……..god knows where in that inferno of sounds and lights. I just looked before me, at that sexy woman leading me, was she the same creature i had met in the afternoon. She was dressed completely different now, no more black jeans and jacket, now some silky evening dress, china style, hot even, easily hot in this inferno with the lighting and shit. I got my bearings as i followed her, she would point to people, try to tell me who they were etc, i would just nod, should would drag me on untill we got to bar where there was……less noise, soft lighting, jazz music playing, cool jazz, a murmur of bass, piano, drumms, saxophone, trumpet, sliding around some scales or songline i could not discover, then it hit me, it was soemthing by Miles Davis, i suddenly felt home again, i had ended up in noir country, a place where could do business.
We settled in a booth, yeah merican style, she went off to the bar to get her contact and some drinks for us. I sat back, relaxed, took in the place, more guys like me, i noticed, this was a place of business, some gangsters, agents and impressarios…….yes, this was the place to do business.
(I will return shortly after this brake, cue music.)